Government Opinion Reader Contributed

Op-Ed: West Hartford Town Council to Consider Updated Clean Energy Plan

West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor (right) cheers after flipping the switch on the solar installation atop Town Hall in October 2019. Also pictured are (from left) Deputy Mayor Beth Kerrigan, Councilor Liam Sweeney, and Verogy Co-Founder and COO Steven DeNino. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

‘Failing to plan is planning to fail. Benjamin Franklin.’

Submitted by Bernard Pelletier, West Hartford Clean Energy Commission

In May and June, the Town Council is taking up consideration of a new West Hartford Comprehensive Energy Plan. This plan expands the scope beyond our current plan to the entire community and sets out an ambitious goal of 100 Percent Clean Energy by 2050.

Our current in force plan was approved in March of 2009 by the Town Council. In its vision statement it expressed the hope that:

“this document will serve as a roadmap for the implementation and delivery of town services over time in a sustainable manner. And further, it is our hope that this will serve to inspire our fellow citizens, businesses and institutions to join in partnership to fashion a sustainable future and serve as a positive example for others”

During the decade after implementation, this plan guided West Hartford’s municipal operations to reduced energy consumption resulting in close to $1,000,000 in avoided cost, to procuring economically beneficial renewable resources, and to inspire its citizens. Most recently Mayor Shari Cantor announced that the town’s electric supply is 100% renewable!

This “Lead by example” ethos served West Hartford residents, businesses and even other towns in Connecticut, many of whom created an energy plan patterned on West Hartford’s example.

During the pandemic West Hartford’s Clean Energy Commission has updated and expanded the 2009 plan for West Hartford. The new plan builds on the achievements of the last decade – and perhaps most significantly broadens the scope of the plan to the entire residential and business community. In the 12 years since the plan was adopted, the world of energy has changed. Solar has become an economically viable option, the state has adopted its own aggressive clean energy goals, and the menace of climate change has become clearer each year. The new plan contemplates these changes and weaves them into a plan for our community.

As drafted the new West Hartford Energy Plan sets out a bold aspiration for the community:

“We aspire for our entire community to use 100% clean energy by 2050”

The plan outlines near term goals and longer-term actions that are designed to achieve that goal by focusing on four sectors: Residential, Commercial and Industrial, Transportation, and adoption of Clean Energy supply. For each sector concrete steps are designed to reduce energy demand and to meet that demand with renewables.

In May and June, the Town Council is taking up consideration of  the plan. It is important for the community at large to know what is in the plan and support the Town Council as they consider this plan.

The draft plan may be found on the town’s website here.

Please review this plan and support the Town Council as they move our town into a clean energy future.

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1 Comment

  • “We aspire for our entire community to use 100% clean energy by 2050”

    A good head start on that plan would be to use the UConn property as a solar field. That would have zero negative impact for traffic, noise, pollution or wetland impact while showing immediate progress.

    Let’s face it, none of the politicians making this plan will be around in 2050. I’d like to see them walking the talk today.

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